Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with RB Wood’s Symon Bryson from The Prodigal’s Foole.
A man can run from his past … but not his future.
Symon Bryson lives in self-imposed exile until Monsignor DuBarry goes missing and not even the most adept of the magic practitioners can determine the reason for the abduction. The clues lie buried in the past amidst epic battles and horrific losses but reliving that failed mission uncovers fresh challenges and fearsome threats that reunite his old team. Symon must deal with his own hidden demons and confront the menace that threatens the delicate balance of power. When the darkest of all evils lures Symon into springing a long-planned trap, an unsuspecting world will confront the unthinkable.
When all that stands between Heaven and Hell is magic, more than faith will be tested.
Make sure you stick around to the end and earn another entry into the Black Friday $50 Amazon giftcard giveaway.
A Christmas Wish
Boston on Christmas Eve can be a magical place.
The light snow that drifted lazily from the heavens completed the picture-perfect scene of New England during the holidays. My original plan had been to spend the later portion of December recouping and recharging from a very hectic year battling the various nasties of the Shadow World. I planned on re-watching some of the classic (non-colorized) versions of old time Christmas movies and sipping some bourbon to close out the year.
Then Janice called.
She was a part of my team—a beautiful, brilliant, woman of Narragansett/Hopi shaman decent. Tall with flowing dark hair and a killer smile. A formidable practitioner herself, she rarely needed my help.
I never could resist a Damsel in Distress especially an ex-lover who knew all the right buttons to push.
Church holy days tend to make the demons and monsters, ghosts and goblins and assorted other beasties rather restless. I was expecting a fight.
What I got was the mall.
“Symon, try not to have that look on your face,” said Janice as we passed through the automated doors shaking the light snow from our coats. Her voice had that warning tone I knew only so well from our dating days.
“What look?” Sometimes I can’t help myself.
“The look like you are about to burn the mall to ash,” she said matter-of-factly.
I sighed. “This is not what I had in mind when you asked me to help you out for a few hours.”
Janice smirked. “I know. That’s why I didn’t tell you. I just wanted to pick up a few things for the school. Now that there are students in attendence again…well you know Peter.”
Father Fine took his role as head of the St. Ignatius school very seriously—especially at Christmas time. I could imagine them discussing how to engage my help without actually telling me why they needed it.
Six pre teen girls ran in front of us, squealing with delight.
“I’m in hell,” I sighed.
“Man up, Sy. I need to make a few stops then I’ll release you from your obligation.”
She walked into the first store. I lagged behind contemplating ways to escape when I noticed another group of children—teenagers this time—laughing and pointing at the large Christmas tree in the center of the mall.
“Unbelievable,” one said.
“Like that’ll ever fuckin’ happen” The other said. He had the look of a teenager proud to be using grown up swears. I immediately took a disliking to the entire lot of them.
I moved closer to see what the little hooligans were on about.
Cards hung in the lower branches of the massive evergreen. Each had been decorated with sparkles or crayons and each had been written on in the blocky, furtive style of a young child.
As I moved closer to read the specific card the teenagers were laughing about, I saw a small wooden stand with a sign proclaiming that the tree was sponsored by the city of Boston and cards bore the wish list of underprivileged children. There was also a note that the children in the program would be at the mall tonight to pick up the packages and to sing Christmas Carols.
“I’m mean,” said the first kid, “I know they are “under privileged,” He made air quotes, “but NOBODY is going to spend the money to buy this kid a bike.”
The group of little bastards moved off toward an electronics store, laughing.
Under the tree were wrapped presents—similar cards that were hanging on the tree were attached to them. Many remained unfulfilled adorning the lower branches of the tree.
I picked up the one the kids had been reading. The boy—listed as age 11—wrote that his parents were both out of work and they’d recently moved into a shelter. His dad had promised to teach him to ride a bike and would Santa be good enough to provide them him a bike so he could spend time with his dad?
I flashed back. I was eleven when I’d come across a scene of terrible mayhem. My parents–torn apart by a demonic force…
I walked over to one of the kiosks that provided boxes and wrapping paper.
“A small, ring box please.”
I then found a quiet stall in a nearby men’s room and used my power.
Thirty minutes later, the children arrived—all smartly dressed in choir robes. Despite the best attempt at containing them by the adults, they all ran to the presents under the tree to find their names.
The boy—a very thin looking small child with olive skin and longish hair picked up his card with a little box attached to it. He read the card and closed his eyes.
“Make a Wish.” I’d written on it.
While his eyes were closed, I moved my hand subtly and whispered a word.
He opened his eyes, and the box in his hands began to tremble. Startled, the child dropped the package when began to grow. The children stepped back in surprise and wonder as the box grew and changed shape…eventually settling down to a size and shape perfect to hold…
“My bike!” the child said, stunned.
The children all applauded and clapped.
Just then, Janice, laden with packages said waspishly “Thanks for your help.”
“Oh sorry. Let me help you.”
I toke the lion’s share of packages and we headed out of the mall. The children began to sing “Joy to the World.” I hummed along.
“You seem in better form,” said Janice. “Christmas spirit finally find you?”
In response, I just continued to hum the carol. I wondered, amusedly, if anyone would see the cane I left leaning next to the fake fireplace by the tree. After all, the classics are classic for a reason.
Meet RB Wood!
R. B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, was released to critical acclaim in 2012. Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series called The Young Practitioner, multiple short stories, a graphic novel and a science fiction trilogy that he dusts off every few years. Along with his writing passion, R. B. is host of The Word Count Podcast – a show that features talent from all around the globe reading original flash-fiction stories.? R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.
Want to purchase RB Wood’s novels?
The Prodigal’s Foole (The Arcana Chronicles #1)
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